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Unread 07-12-2018, 08:19   #1
Padna
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Default Cross-border annual tickets

I live in Dundalk and work in Belfast. For the past four years I have bought an annual Irish Rail point-to-point ticket valid for travel between Dundalk and Belfast, and it has worked well for me. I pay cash upfront for the ticket as the Taxsaver scheme doesn't apply to those working in Northern Ireland. Neither is it an option to buy an annual ticket from Translink/NIR - they only sell annual tickets for journeys within NI, although they do sell monthly and weekly tickets for cross-border journeys.

I have heard that these annual Irish Rail tickets have now been replaced by personalised Leap cards and that the stations between which the tickets is valid will no longer be printed on the card. I am wondering how Translink staff are meant to know if such Leap cards are valid or are their card readers compatible with Leap cards?

It should be noted that I don't always travel on the Enterprise trains; because the first northbound Enterprise each morning only arrives in Belfast at 09.45, I sometimes drive to Newry to catch an earler train from there. This in turn gives me the option of getting off in another station such as Great Victoria Street and returning to Newry on a loal Translink service in the evening. I have also been able to use my Irish Rail ticket for travel on these non-Enterprise services for the past four years, but am now unsure if I will be able to do that in future.

Any thoughts?
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Unread 07-12-2018, 18:07   #2
Inniskeen
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What form does your ticket take now ?

There are a lot of locations on Irish Rail that don't have barriers so I am not sure that a leap card format would no origin/destination information would be ideal there either e.g Dublin to Athlone probably has a few daily commuters likewise Dublin to Thurles, Dublin to Ballybrophy.
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Unread 07-12-2018, 18:22   #3
Padna
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It's an Irish Rail Smart Card (credit card style) with my photo and name on it. It also has 'Dundalk-Belfast' and 'Dec18exp' printed on it. It will open the barriers in Dundalk but can't be read by the scanners in Newry, Lanyon Place or Great Victoria Street. Staff on the trains (whether Enterprise or Translink) can't scan it either, but at least they can read the info printed on it and be satisfied that it's a valid ticket.
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Unread 08-12-2018, 08:36   #4
Inniskeen
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The ticket I have is very similar, it is also a rail smart card in exactly the format you describe. In my case though the ticket is not valid in NI.

I might be wrong but as far as I am aware Leap cards are already issued for point to point annual tickets even though one end is outside the Leap card area. Note sure if these have the point to point validity printed on them.

From the Irish Rail web site

Taxsaver Leap Cards
Taxsaver Leap cards are also available through participating organisations in the short hop zone. We have also recently launched Leap Point-Point ie Drogheda-Connolly, Wicklow-Pearse, Sallins-Heuston etc.

I haven't seen any of these point to point Leap tickets. While it might be good to have Leap functionality on point to point tickets it seems daft using a card that is not distinguished in appearance from a standard Leap card. It would certainly provide an opportunity for punters to chance their arm outside the Leap card area. I will try and get a look at one over the next few days.
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Unread 08-12-2018, 09:32   #5
James Howard
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My last pass which expired a year ago was a point-to-point and was loaded on a leap card. There was nothing on the card to indicate where it was valid but the ticket collectors on Sligo seemed to have a device to read Leap cards. They never checked me since I know them all.

The point-to-point leap cards started at least 3 years ago for me so if you still have one of the old-style tickets, I suspect you'll continue to get one since everyone in my office move to leap-style tickets several years ago.

Perhaps they use them for anyone cross-border for the very reason that you've raised - the NIR staff can't read them.
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Unread 08-12-2018, 21:11   #6
Padna
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I was told by a Taxsaver staff member that they would no longer be issuing me with an 'old-style card' with the station names and expiry date printed on it. I guess they have totally eliminated them now and all new point-to-point tickets will be loaded onto Leap cards.

I guess the only option will be to keep the receipt I get when I buy the 'Leap card' annual ticket and bring it with me every day to show to Translink staff along with my Leap card.

It doesn't seem like the brightest idea to however to switch the cross-border tickets to Leap cards - or am I incorrect to presume that the Leap cards are unreadable in the North?
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